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Casa Martí

Casa Martí (23)

In the heart of Barcelona’s Gothic quarter, you will also find the imprint of modernism. Near the Portal de l’Àngel, in Carrer Montsià, you can find a restaurant that was the reference point for painters and intellectuals of the day: Els Quatre Gats, The Four Cats.

The building went up in 1895, work of the still young architect Puig i Cadafalch, who would later create the Casa Macaya, the Casa Amatller and the Casa de les Punxes. Its architecture is influenced by both European Gothic and Catalan art, with special emphasis on ornamental items such as ceramics and wrought iron.

But it was not till 12 June, 1897, that Pere Romeu and the painter Ramon Casas converted the house into a café. Here figures such as Santiago Rusiñol, Isaac Albéniz, Rubén Darío, Gaudí himself and many others from the worlds of politics, music, literature and painting met in interminable conversations about art, politics and philosophy.  One of its habitués, Pablo Picasso, designed the first menu and posters for the restaurant.

For six years, concerts, exhibitions and plays were put on here, and it even became the headquarters of the Catalan painting and literary movement known as the Renaixença, Renaissance. In 1899 it published a journal edited by Pere Romeu with the same name, “Els Quatre Gats”, which spread modernist aesthetics and thought.

Currently, it is a café-restaurant where you can still breathe this special Bohemian atmosphere of Catalan moderinsm.

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